FAISALABAD. Pak economy has plunged to the lowest, due to corona lockdown and its fallout impacts hence the upcoming Federal and Provincial budgets should be completely tax free while additional incentives should also be extended to the vulnerable SME sectors.
Addressing All Pakistan Chambers President’s Conference organized by the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce & Industry through video link, Rana Muhammad Sikandar-e-Azam Khan President Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FCCI), said that new jobs should be created by encouraging the establishment of new labor intensive industry. “Similarly Zero rated schemes should also be revived for the five major exports sectors”, he said and added that the present tariff of sales tax is very high and it must be rationalize with maximum rate of only 5 percent. He said that rate of other taxes should also be trimmed proportionately.
Continuing, President FCCI said that Power looms is the biggest domestic industry which has been suffering due to the corona lockdown. “Around one lac families are directly and indirectly depended on it”, he said and added that power loom workers belong to the lowest strata of economy and are facing worst ever crisis of the history. He told that Government has announced relief package for different sectors and power looms sector should be offered this facility. He said Petrol prices have plunged to the historic lowest but no relief has been announced in the form of cut in electricity rate. “Hence the electricity rate should also be reduced to around 30 percent”, he opined. He told Government has announced to pay three month’s electricity bills of small traders and SME sectors. “No practical development has so far been witnessed in this respect”, he added. Contrary to helping the affectees of lock down, the FESCO has not only added late surcharge in their bills but their meters are also being severed.
He said State Bank of Pakistan has announced concessional loans for SME sector and small traders who will not layoff their workers during lock down period. This loan will be available with markup plus bank spread of total 6 percent. He told that banks are not properly guiding their clients and they are rather fomenting confusion by stating that this loan will be allowed only to the units who are paying salaries of their staff through cheques. He told State Bank should issue clear direction that no bank will unnecessarily refuse its cline to issue the subsidize loan. He said as during lock down the business activities remained nil hence the concessional loan should be issued with zero markup (Inclusive of bank spread) as additional markup will be tantamount to add more financial burden on the completely closed businesses and industries. He told In order to revive the economy during post corona period; we must focus on traditional and nontraditional markets. “South America is an important but ignored market”, he told and added that in order to make maximum exports to this subcontinent we must appoint Pakistani exporters as honorary commercial counselors who are already working with these countries. “Similarly we should also try to enter into the untapped African markets”, he added. He told that Advisor to Prime Minister on Commerce has agreed in principal to appoint the Honorary Commercial Counselors in uncovered Countries.